Reflecting on the role of DKA's Codes 4 Life program
“Culture keeps us strong. It shares its wisdom in a whisper, so we need to listen carefully. Culture asks us to think about the legacy we leave behind for our children. It reminds us of our responsibilities to our families, our law, our country, and our community. It strengthens our identity as we walk in two worlds, trying to find our place in each of them. By sitting quietly on country with our Elders, we can hear the voice of culture and gain knowledge, understanding and peace.
Sometimes our lives become too noisy, filled with destructive distractions like drugs and alcohol, gambling, crime, and domestic violence. All this noise drowns out the voice of culture, and we forget our legacy, our responsibilities and our identity. Culture still whispers its wisdom, yet we can’t hear it over the noise. With the next generation too distracted to listen and learn, Elders fear that their cultural knowledge will die with them. What if we could turn down the volume, and listen to the voice of culture again?
Michael Liddle with Codes 4 Life participants in Ampilatwatja
Codes 4 Life is a program that uses football as a way to discuss respect for discipline. Respecting the rules helps us succeed in our lives, not just on the footy oval. Just like we have a role to play on our football team, we have a role to play in our families and communities. Embracing the strength and value in culture helps us to understand our place in the world, and the accompanying obligations. Our Elders can guide us, but we need to be ready to listen.
Codes 4 Life offers men a chance to discuss issues, to seek advice and guidance, and to express difficult emotions in a safe, empowering setting. Elders are an important part of the workshops; their presence provides authenticity, dignity and wisdom. For many participants, it is their first opportunity to listen to an Elder. With a renewed sense of purpose and an understanding of their legacy, responsibility and identity, men are empowered to walk in two worlds with pride and strength. Codes 4 Life helps men turn down the volume of the negative distractions in their lives, and listen to the voice of culture.”